Vaughn Covington isn't shy on the basketball court, but you could call him bashful on offense.
The 5-foot-11 junior for Neumann-Goretti is a pass-first, -second, and -third point guard for the Saints. So much so that Covington had never led the Saints in scoring heading into the PIAA Class AAA semifinals Tuesday night. He had recorded double digits just six times in the last two seasons.
Tuesday night, however, Covington's team-high 21 points led the Saints to a 75-67 triumph over Imhotep Charter and another appearance in the state title game.
"It's funny, really," Covington said with a laugh. "Usually I'm the one finding them. Tonight, I had the hot hand, and that doesn't happen too often."
Covington averaged just four points in the last seven games before Tuesday.
"I was struggling the past few games," he said, "but I've just been in the gym, working."
The Sicklerville, N.J., resident finished 5 of 10 from the field and 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. He also went 7 of 8 from the line.
"Yeah, it just kind of happened," he said. "I was open. Coach [Carl Arrigale] told me when I was open to shoot the ball. He's always been on me about that - passing up shots. He said if I was open, shoot the ball. That's what I did."
All of his points were critical in a close contest at a packed Philadelphia University. With the win, the Saints will play Catholic League foe Archbishop Carroll at the Giant Center in Hershey on Friday.
With Quade Green, the Saints leading scorer, in early foul trouble, Covington and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree kept N-G ahead, 31-30, at intermission.
Cosby-Roundtree finished with 12 points (10 at the half), 15 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots. Green finished with 19 points total.
Imhotep was led by Daron Russell's 27 points (15 at the half) and seven steals.
The Saints simply made enough plays to win. And Covington, whose father, Vaughn Sr., played at Cheyney University, supplied ample advice.
"Yeah, my dad tells me everything I'm doing wrong on my shot," he joked. "So, every time I miss a shot I look at him and he says, 'You're doing this, you're doing that.' "
Tuesday night, when Covington looked to his father, the message was simple.
"He said, 'Keep shooting, keep shooting!' He told me he was a scoring guard, but I don't believe that."
Imhotep Charter 10 20 18 19 - 67
Neumann-Goretti 17 14 21 23 - 75
I: Daron Russell 27, Jaekwon Carlyle 7, Devin Liggeons 5, DeAnte Robinson 10, Jaquan Arrington 4, Khalief Tinley 8, Nysir Marshburn 6.
N-G: Quade Green 19, Zane Martin 13, Vaughn Covington 21, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree 12, Lamarr Kimble 10..